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francopoli  ·  8 hours ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Happy Saturday Hubski. Have a least weasel popping up to say "hello."

francopoli  ·  1 day ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Anatomy of a Moral Panic

The media exists to spread moral panics. That is how they get eyeballs on the ads.

katakowsj  ·  1 day ago  ·  link  ·  

Reminds me of:

"Your own enemy cannot harm you as much as your own thoughts, unguarded.

-The Dhammapada

Yes the media is this way, but we need to all adopt a "buyer beware" strategy to our consumption of our media.

francopoli  ·  1 day ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Google to buy part of HTC's smartphone operations for $1bn

Gonna be interesting seeing the new Pixel phones next month. I really want that new Samsung camera that does 300FPS but I doubt anything Google Branded will have it.

rd95  ·  1 day ago  ·  link  ·  

I read a really interesting article the other week, I'll see if I can find it, about how smart phones are actually a product that causes many manufacturers to lose money because they're expensive to make. People seem to be balking at the prices of the new Samsung and Apple phones where there is a good chance that the manufacturers are starting to finally ask for fair prices.

That said, a co-worker and I made fun of Apple's latest phone announcements and we've pretty much come to the conclusion that the main smart phone features have ossified at this point and there's not a lot of innovation left to be had at the moment. So now manufacturers and developers are just slapping on random stuff that's not really all that useful just to try and get people's attention.

francopoli  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Toys R Us files for bankruptcy in US and Canada

Well, fuck me

Bain Capital owns 1/3 of them. AKA Mitt Romney's hedge fund. Huh.

francopoli  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Toys R Us files for bankruptcy in US and Canada

This is an American, publicly traded company we are talking about. Figure out the most reasonable, sensible, long range goals that will generate profits and income for a decade or more, and do the exact fucking opposite in order to maximize the next quarterly report to Wall Street.

rd95  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·  

They got bought out by a private company a few years back. The only people they have to answer to are the banks that give them money and distributors that give them products. Otherwise, if that weren't the case, I'd agree with you 100.99%!

francopoli  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Well, fuck me

Bain Capital owns 1/3 of them. AKA Mitt Romney's hedge fund. Huh.

francopoli  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: September 20, 2017

Alzheimer's is 100000x worse than cancer. I'll make that argument any day. My Grandmother was the youngest of 12, 8 girls, 4 boys. Three of the boys died in WW2, four of the girls dies of things like polio, measles etc. The remaining women, with the exception of my grandmother, all slowly slipped away as their bodies kept chugging along. One of my aunts was arguably one of the wittiest, funniest, sharpest people in my life. Watching that light go out over a decade was worse than watching a family friend's body get eaten by cancer. At least with cancer you get to remain 'you' for lack of a better way.

Taking care of a parent is rough, and hope that you get to have some down time. Doing the right thing by those we love and care for sucks, don't it.

francopoli  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Toys R Us files for bankruptcy in US and Canada

They are going to have to close stores and sell property and hope the hell that there are buyers out there.

rd95  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·  

That doesn't sound right. If that majority of their stores are profitable, closing them would only hurt their chances at recovery. If I had to guess, it's not their lack of income that's holding them back, it's their inability to pay off their debts. Hence, the filing for bankruptcy.

I mean, if I were running that company, the last thing I'd do is close any stores without a clear game plan and good reasons why. Part of the reason why companies prop up unprofitable stores is to keep competitors at bay, yes, but the other part of the reason is that closing stores is a long and expensive process, especially if you have to cancel leases and contracts. If a store is losing your company only $35k a year for instance, but closing it would cost you $100k, it might be prudent to just hold onto it for another year or so and see if it's possible to turn things around.

francopoli  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·  

This is an American, publicly traded company we are talking about. Figure out the most reasonable, sensible, long range goals that will generate profits and income for a decade or more, and do the exact fucking opposite in order to maximize the next quarterly report to Wall Street.

rd95  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·  

They got bought out by a private company a few years back. The only people they have to answer to are the banks that give them money and distributors that give them products. Otherwise, if that weren't the case, I'd agree with you 100.99%!

francopoli  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Well, fuck me

Bain Capital owns 1/3 of them. AKA Mitt Romney's hedge fund. Huh.

francopoli  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Toys R Us files for bankruptcy in US and Canada

They own more than $5 Billion in assets. This is why Sears still exists.

Dominica is for all intents and purposes, dead

Puerto Rico is looking at $75 Billion, minimal IMO, to get back to a functional society. The most wonderful thing to come out of these storms is the very low fatality count.

francopoli  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: September 20, 2017

The astronomy club is still raking in cash from all the eclipse work we have done. We now have 3 years outflows in the bank, and at least 5K more incoming at the beginning of the year and the city wants to give us money but is sitting on a big grant as they don't know what to do with us. I've done enough outreach this year to earn a national recognition, doing the paperwork on that now. I personally have shared astronomy and telescopes and a love of the night sky with over 10,000 people since January 2017.

francopoli  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Apple blocking ads that follow users around web is 'sabotage', says industry

Pi-hole has been a godsend. I use it at home and at work. Fuck ads. Seriously, there is a history of a lack of security and "give-a-shit-itis" about privacy in the whole of the ad industry. If you have $70, get a raspberry pi, load it up, install pi-hole and fuck 'em at the network level.

We do this on our public patient-facing wifi as well.

rd95  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·  

The lack of security is actually crazy. Go to a random website, look up what U-Block origin is blocking, and Google some of the add networks that show up. It's crazy how many of them are on sites that help people tackle malware issues. Shoot. That virus that got my Android phone? Five bucks says it got on there from some kind of ad network exploit because ironically, the only third party app I ever installed on it was MalWare Bytes.

francopoli  ·  3 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Toys R Us files for bankruptcy in US and Canada

I never got to go into a KB Toys as those were mall stores. The scruffy little hooligans that I hung out with back then would not be caught dead in a mall, assuming that security didn't throw us out first.

From the articles it looks like Chapter 11 is a hedge against the loans they have due next year. I wonder if they are anticipating a poor holiday sales season.

kleinbl00  ·  3 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Under bankruptcy they have 90 days to emerge profitable. 80 percent of their sales are the Christmas season. They were holding out as long as they could, hoping to make it to December 27. They're a week shy.

And they're five Billion. Dollars. In debt. They haven't been paying their vendors half an aircraft carrier's worth.

Let that sink in for a minute.

Retail vendors extended Toys'r'us enough credit to buy five stealth bombers. To shoot Avatar ten times over. To pay for three weeks of the Iraq War.

I suspect we're about to find out if a retailer can be too big to fail.

francopoli  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·  

They are going to have to close stores and sell property and hope the hell that there are buyers out there.

rd95  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·  

That doesn't sound right. If that majority of their stores are profitable, closing them would only hurt their chances at recovery. If I had to guess, it's not their lack of income that's holding them back, it's their inability to pay off their debts. Hence, the filing for bankruptcy.

I mean, if I were running that company, the last thing I'd do is close any stores without a clear game plan and good reasons why. Part of the reason why companies prop up unprofitable stores is to keep competitors at bay, yes, but the other part of the reason is that closing stores is a long and expensive process, especially if you have to cancel leases and contracts. If a store is losing your company only $35k a year for instance, but closing it would cost you $100k, it might be prudent to just hold onto it for another year or so and see if it's possible to turn things around.

francopoli  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·  

This is an American, publicly traded company we are talking about. Figure out the most reasonable, sensible, long range goals that will generate profits and income for a decade or more, and do the exact fucking opposite in order to maximize the next quarterly report to Wall Street.

rd95  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·  

They got bought out by a private company a few years back. The only people they have to answer to are the banks that give them money and distributors that give them products. Otherwise, if that weren't the case, I'd agree with you 100.99%!

francopoli  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Well, fuck me

Bain Capital owns 1/3 of them. AKA Mitt Romney's hedge fund. Huh.

ButterflyEffect  ·  3 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Yeah I've been scratching my head trying to figure out how the fuck Toys 'R Us of all places ends up in FIVE BILLION DOLLARS of debt before somebody says "huh, better declare bankruptcy". As opposed to, like, $700 million or something less stupidly large. Is it leveraging debt/asset ratio to say "nuh-uh, we're totally solvent!"?

francopoli  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·  

They own more than $5 Billion in assets. This is why Sears still exists.

rd95  ·  3 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    And they're five Billion. Dollars. In debt. They haven't been paying their vendors half an aircraft carrier's worth.

    . . .

    I suspect we're about to find out if a retailer can be too big to fail.

When you put it that way, it's kind of like GM and Chrysler, huh? Toys R Us is a big company by itself, but at the same time, they buy so much from vendors (which is part of how they could get a debt that big, because Toys R Us is probably their main customer) that if Toys R Us falls, a lot of vendors will too. Amazon, Wal-Mart, and their copycats probably don't have near the amount of demand for the same products Toys R Us does.

Then again, it might bring back mom and pop toy stores. After Borders shut down, indie bookstores slowly started to make a come back.

kleinbl00  ·  3 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Toys'r'Us lives on because Mattel and Hasbro can't let it die

    In electronics, Best Buy holds the same last-chain-standing mantle after Circuit City and HHGregg disappeared. In books, Borders went belly up, while Barnes & Noble remains. Similarly, KB Toys perished, and Toys "R" Us will likely limp along.

The retailer of last resort, ladies and gentlemen.

rd95  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Very interesting article. It has me wondering now if it would be possible for companies like Hasbro, Mattel, and MGA to leverage some of their debt to buy part of Toys R Us. Not that that'd necessarily be a good idea, but it'd probably make for an interesting experiment. Kind of like how, sometimes bakers unions buy a brand so they have a distinct product they can all sell and control, instead of catering to whatever brands that hire them.

kleinbl00  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·  

This is called vertical integration and is subject to the Clayton Antitrust Act. Not to say it doesn't happen, not to say it's always illegal, but it's one of those warning signs that, back in the days of fair business practices, made lawyers itchy.

rd95  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I did not know there was anything even remotely controversial about this business practice. Thanks for the links. I'm gonna look into them this afternoon!

OftenBen  ·  3 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    enough credit to buy five stealth bombers. To shoot Avatar ten times over. To pay for three weeks of the Iraq War.

These numbers make me heartsick.

kleinbl00  ·  3 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Personally I wish I could price things in schools and hospitals but these are the prices I know.

francopoli  ·  3 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: September 20, 2017

    Curious if anyone would bite on a discussion of whether or not giving a lifelong friend a few more years to live in exchange for the money you've earned

Not a question for me. There are 4-5 people in this world that if they asked, I'd mortgage the house for them. The concept of "What is mine is also yours" is the best way to describe my thoughts on the matter.

A long time ago, a few people were nice to me; that kindness took me from lost and homeless to having a career and a house and a hobby that is adding value to the world. I'd do the same for my friends in a heartbeat, no questions asked.

francopoli  ·  3 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Toys R Us files for bankruptcy in US and Canada

Video games are to blame

It was not very often that I was allowed to go to Toys-R-Us as a child; we did not have any money for things like toys. When my mom and dad finally knuckled under and got a TV (black and white, 13") when I was 13, the Toys-R-Us commercials were the highlights of the fall and winter.

Amazon, Wallmart and Gamestop finally kicked them down. I did not realize that they used to be the #2 retailer of computer software.

rd95  ·  3 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I mean, the article says the majority of their stores turn a profit, which can actually be a hard feat these days. That said, I kind of have a chip on my shoulder about Toys R Us. They choked out a lot of mom and pop toy and hobby stores in addition to other brands like KayBee and FAO Schwarz (both of which it bought up the desiccated corpses of). I have a few friends that work for Toys R Us and for the most part, they like their jobs, which is also a feat in retail these days, so I hope their strategy works. That said, I walked through one recently to meet up with one of my said friends as they were getting off work and I gotta tell you, with the exception of an amazing LEGO section, it's nowhere near as cool as when I was growing up. Toys these days are kind of lame.

francopoli  ·  3 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I never got to go into a KB Toys as those were mall stores. The scruffy little hooligans that I hung out with back then would not be caught dead in a mall, assuming that security didn't throw us out first.

From the articles it looks like Chapter 11 is a hedge against the loans they have due next year. I wonder if they are anticipating a poor holiday sales season.

kleinbl00  ·  3 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Under bankruptcy they have 90 days to emerge profitable. 80 percent of their sales are the Christmas season. They were holding out as long as they could, hoping to make it to December 27. They're a week shy.

And they're five Billion. Dollars. In debt. They haven't been paying their vendors half an aircraft carrier's worth.

Let that sink in for a minute.

Retail vendors extended Toys'r'us enough credit to buy five stealth bombers. To shoot Avatar ten times over. To pay for three weeks of the Iraq War.

I suspect we're about to find out if a retailer can be too big to fail.

francopoli  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·  

They are going to have to close stores and sell property and hope the hell that there are buyers out there.

rd95  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·  

That doesn't sound right. If that majority of their stores are profitable, closing them would only hurt their chances at recovery. If I had to guess, it's not their lack of income that's holding them back, it's their inability to pay off their debts. Hence, the filing for bankruptcy.

I mean, if I were running that company, the last thing I'd do is close any stores without a clear game plan and good reasons why. Part of the reason why companies prop up unprofitable stores is to keep competitors at bay, yes, but the other part of the reason is that closing stores is a long and expensive process, especially if you have to cancel leases and contracts. If a store is losing your company only $35k a year for instance, but closing it would cost you $100k, it might be prudent to just hold onto it for another year or so and see if it's possible to turn things around.

francopoli  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·  

This is an American, publicly traded company we are talking about. Figure out the most reasonable, sensible, long range goals that will generate profits and income for a decade or more, and do the exact fucking opposite in order to maximize the next quarterly report to Wall Street.

rd95  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·  

They got bought out by a private company a few years back. The only people they have to answer to are the banks that give them money and distributors that give them products. Otherwise, if that weren't the case, I'd agree with you 100.99%!

francopoli  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Well, fuck me

Bain Capital owns 1/3 of them. AKA Mitt Romney's hedge fund. Huh.

ButterflyEffect  ·  3 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Yeah I've been scratching my head trying to figure out how the fuck Toys 'R Us of all places ends up in FIVE BILLION DOLLARS of debt before somebody says "huh, better declare bankruptcy". As opposed to, like, $700 million or something less stupidly large. Is it leveraging debt/asset ratio to say "nuh-uh, we're totally solvent!"?

francopoli  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·  

They own more than $5 Billion in assets. This is why Sears still exists.

rd95  ·  3 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    And they're five Billion. Dollars. In debt. They haven't been paying their vendors half an aircraft carrier's worth.

    . . .

    I suspect we're about to find out if a retailer can be too big to fail.

When you put it that way, it's kind of like GM and Chrysler, huh? Toys R Us is a big company by itself, but at the same time, they buy so much from vendors (which is part of how they could get a debt that big, because Toys R Us is probably their main customer) that if Toys R Us falls, a lot of vendors will too. Amazon, Wal-Mart, and their copycats probably don't have near the amount of demand for the same products Toys R Us does.

Then again, it might bring back mom and pop toy stores. After Borders shut down, indie bookstores slowly started to make a come back.

kleinbl00  ·  3 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Toys'r'Us lives on because Mattel and Hasbro can't let it die

    In electronics, Best Buy holds the same last-chain-standing mantle after Circuit City and HHGregg disappeared. In books, Borders went belly up, while Barnes & Noble remains. Similarly, KB Toys perished, and Toys "R" Us will likely limp along.

The retailer of last resort, ladies and gentlemen.

rd95  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Very interesting article. It has me wondering now if it would be possible for companies like Hasbro, Mattel, and MGA to leverage some of their debt to buy part of Toys R Us. Not that that'd necessarily be a good idea, but it'd probably make for an interesting experiment. Kind of like how, sometimes bakers unions buy a brand so they have a distinct product they can all sell and control, instead of catering to whatever brands that hire them.

kleinbl00  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·  

This is called vertical integration and is subject to the Clayton Antitrust Act. Not to say it doesn't happen, not to say it's always illegal, but it's one of those warning signs that, back in the days of fair business practices, made lawyers itchy.

rd95  ·  2 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I did not know there was anything even remotely controversial about this business practice. Thanks for the links. I'm gonna look into them this afternoon!

OftenBen  ·  3 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    enough credit to buy five stealth bombers. To shoot Avatar ten times over. To pay for three weeks of the Iraq War.

These numbers make me heartsick.

kleinbl00  ·  3 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Personally I wish I could price things in schools and hospitals but these are the prices I know.

francopoli  ·  4 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: POST SONGS THAT ENCAPSULATE HOW YOUR DAY WENT.

Forgot about the middle of the other one, lol oopsie. /v/ the musical is in full swing and we should see the new stuff in about a week.